DETROIT – All is quiet on the trade front on the eve of the first round of the NHL Entry Draft.
“I’ve talked to a few managers in Las Vegas,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said Thursday. “It’s harder and harder to make trades because of a lot of factors involved. Parity, there are so many teams close to the salary cap and there are a lot of long-term contracts. We obviously have some needs and we have cap space and we hope to be active as we explore the market on July 1. I can explore a trade, but in most cases, it’s equal player for equal player.
“There are always rumblings, always a lot of talk,” Holland added. “Some leads to something, some dissipates into nothing. We don’t have much going, but I’m calling around, having people inquire to see who’s out there.”
The Wings don’t have a pick in this year’s first round, which would have been 19th, trading it away to Tampa Bay for Kyle Quincey at last year’s trade deadline.
“An NHL Draft, in my opinion, is judged by the top five to 10 picks,” Holland said. “Years when you have (Evgeni) Malkin and (Alex) Ovechkin in the draft it’s a great draft. There are lots of solid players coming out of Europe, but when you get in the late first and into the second and third rounds I think all the drafts are the same.”
Ovechkin and Malkin went No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the 2004 draft.
“Part of building your team has to be done internally,” Holland said. “We have to do it with Brendan Smith and Gustav Nyquist. That has to be part of the formula. We have to move players through the system to the big team no matter what we do.”